Update: 10:18 am
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann released a statement Thursday regarding a mistake which excludes some teachers from receiving a pay raise.
“I have been in the classroom with our unbelievably dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring special education teachers. To leave them out of the pay raise bill, along with our CTE and gifted teachers, is unconscionable. The first order of business in the Senate next year will be to address this issue, with interest, in addition to our annual teacher pay raise bill. I hope MDE will do whatever necessary to ease any burden on districts in the interim and ensure teachers receive the funds they deserve.”
Some teachers may not see the 15-hundred dollar pay raise passed in the legislative session.
And leaders are saying they are not likely to call a special session to fix a miscalculation made by the Mississippi Department of Education.
According to Representative Jay Hughes…”It was a matter of arithmetic. The department didn’t count teachers who were supposed to be included in the new teacher pay raise… to the tune of an almost $14 million shortfall in funding.”
Governor Phil Bryant recently signed a $1,500 pay raise but some teachers will not see a cent. Representative Hughes explains.
“There’s going to have to be some action to get the pay raises to the teachers that were promised them.”
A mistake in the way certain teachers are coded in the Mississippi student information system is leaving out special education and gifted teacher – along with some teacher assistants and CTE educators.
“The reality is this, the legislature did not appropriate enough money or give enough money to the MDE to fully fund all of the teacher pay raises.”
In a letter sent to the house and senate education chairs: the chief operations officer Dr. Felicia Gavin wrote: “The calculation did not include the cost of federally funded teaching positions that would receive raises through the federal budget.
31,157 full-time equivalent teachers will qualify for the raise under those parameters.
The cost of the pay raise signed into law is $58.4 million—that’s about a 12 to 14 million dollar shortfall according to Hughes
“A few things are on the table that has to happen they don’t have the money and they’re already underfunded so if it turns down to – if it comes down to it they’re going to have to raise local property taxes just to cover this pay raise the legislature mandated , or the legislature could have a special session. “
A spokesperson for Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves says: “If this letter is found to have inaccurate information, the Lieutenant Governor will support a deficit appropriation at the beginning of the 2020 session.”
That’s assuming Reeves is at the capitol following the upcoming election cycle.
“The problem we have is that 99.9 percent of this pay raise issue and the 2 million dollar sneak in all happened behind closed doors they never checked with teachers on the ground superintendents to ask them—the taxpayers oughta be mad.”
The department of education hasn’t told why so many educators were not accounted for — it only issued a statement –
According to the Mississippi Department of Education, they will work with the districts to get a correct count and will provide the information to the legislature to seek additional funding.
It is worth noting, Representative Hughes is running for lieutenant governor as the lone Democrat.
Secretary of state Delbert Hosemann and Shane Quick are running on the Republican side.